Orleans Democratic committee ‘rebukes’ Rep. Abramson for his role in election of House speaker

New Orleans Democrats have formally denounced one of their own, saying that state Rep. Neil Abramson’s failed bid to become speaker of the Louisiana House and his eventual vote for a Republican candidate cost his party the chamber’s top leadership position.

The Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee this week adopted a resolution that “rebukes” Abramson’s actions in the speaker’s race and urges voters in his Uptown district to “reflect on the actual fiscal and policy costs of those unfathomable decisions.”

The resolution had been in the works since last week, when members of the Executive Committee called a special meeting to hash out what they described as Abramson’s betrayal of his party and governor during the speaker’s race.

Abramson had thrown his hat into the ring against state Rep. Walt Leger, a fellow New Orleans Democrat who had the backing of incoming Democratic Gov. John Edwards, and two Republicans.

Some Democrats argued that Abramson’s candidacy contributed to a sense that Leger’s candidacy was in disarray, bolstering a Republican plan to put state Rep. Taylor Barras into the GOP-dominated chamber’s top spot. Abramson, who won only his own vote and one other on the first ballot, then threw his support behind Barras in the runoff.

While Abramson didn’t cast a deciding vote either time, the Executive Committee’s resolution said his actions went against the wishes and best interests of his heavily Democratic city and led to Leger’s unprecedented loss despite being the governor’s hand-picked candidate.

Some Democrats have argued that loss of the speakership will make the party’s legislative objectives harder to achieve and likely cost its legislators key committee appointments that could have been used to advance Democratic goals.

Abramson has said the fault lay with Leger for not stepping aside in a race he could not win and leaving the field clear for Abramson’s own compromise candidacy.

Both Abramson and House Republicans have denied working together on his run.

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